Myanmar: Teak sawmilling a sunset industry

  • December 05, 2009
  • • Source: ITTO's Tropical Timber Market Report
  • • Views: 1150
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An article highlighting the alarming decline of the sawmilling industry in Myanmar appeared in ‘Living Colour’- a monthly economic news magazine- this showed that Myanmar’s timber is, today, exported mainly in log form and not as processed products. The following table illustrates the trends in log exports and domestic manufacturing.

Teak Log Production Utilisation
Year
Total
Production
Milled
Locally
Exported
logs
1995-96
232397
37%
49%
2000-01
250500
24%
85%
2001-02
276067
26%
59%
2002-03
297979
21%
56%
2003-04
362069
18%
60%
2004-05
300495
5%
79%
2005-06
307060
4%
90%
Source Central Statistical Organisation. Quantity, tons.

The author of the article traced back into the 17th & 18th centuries when teak was originally the favoured timber for shipbuilding. After independence the industry was managed by the State and the then two sawmills converted 15,725 hoppus tons of logs. The number of teak sawmills had increased to 34 by 1968-69 and by 1983-84 teak sawmilling had reached a peak with some 335,000 hoppus tons being milled. Beginning in 2000, mill throughput declined with the lowest level (10,800 hoppus tons) being recorded in 2005. The author advocated the need to stimulate the local industry from slipping further and was well received among the wood industrialists.
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